Monday is author quarterly payment time. Currently Leg Iron Books pays 100% of profits to authors (every book sale has a profit even if it’s pennies) because there’s enough coming in from the anthologies that there’s no need to pick out a penny from the author pennies.
So. I have been keeping abreast of developments in the rather silly Covid nonsense that’s going on now and I thought, well, there’s a good idea for a story in here. This is it, I’ll probably include it in the Halloween anthology because this crap isn’t going to end any time soon so I’m likely to need yet another lockdown title. Later though, I’m still editing Wandra Nomad’s book (slow because I was a little bit ill lately, but it’s grown back now).
Anyway. Without further ado, here’s a tale of pure fiction. Pure fiction. I just made it up. Try to keep that in mind. Oh and it’s very first draft. There may be adjustments to be made.
Darius Blackthorn wrinkled his nose and dropped the sheaf of papers onto the desk. “This is a flu virus. It’s hardly a weapon. Okay, you made it a bit more infectious but it’s not going to do much, is it?”
“Ah.” Doctor Robson picked up the papers and tidied them into a neat pile. “I appreciate that your speciality lies outside the biological sciences, Mr. Blackthorn. Very few people would grasp the implications of this result and that is exactly how it should be.”
“So?” Blackthorn reached for the whisky decanter. “I’ll offer you a drink when you’ve explained yourself. I’m no expert, it’s true, but it’s pretty clear that all you’ve done here is add some attachment proteins to what is basically a flu virus.” He poured himself a drink and stared into Robson’s eyes.
“Well, that’s what it looks like because that’s exactly what I designed it to look like.” Robson eyed the decanter for a moment. “It’s meant to appear as though it evolved naturally. Just a flu virus with extra infectivity. Oh sure, someone will work out it’s not natural but by then it’ll be too late.”
“Why would anyone even investigate it?” Blackthorn took a sip of his whisky and placed the glass carefully on the silver coaster on his desk. “It’s bloody flu. It’ll kill as many as flu does every year and the rest will recover and forget about it.”
“This is only part of the weapon. The virus will do rather more than flu but it won’t do it to very many people. That’s true, but the virus isn’t the explosive in this weapon. It’s just the primer.”
Blackthorn shook his head. “You’re really not making any sense.”
“Well, let’s try an analogy. You are, of course, familiar with the story of Troy?” Robson raised one eyebrow.
“Of course. The gift of a giant wooden horse that turned out to be full of soldiers. It’s a legend pretty much everyone grew up with.” Blackthorn narrowed his eyes. “I’ve paid you a lot of money to come up with a new and effective bioweapon and you’ve produced flu. I suggest you hasten your explanation.”
Robson took a sharp breath. He was well aware of the reputation around the Blackthorn family. They did not exactly take failure in their stride, and especially did not tolerate failures they had paid a lot of money for.
Robson cleared his throat. “Okay. The flu is the beginning. Only we don’t call it flu, we call it something else. Then we ramp up the scares. We attribute every flu case to our new virus and when it puts a few into intensive care, we really publicise that.”
Blackthorn sniffed. “That part is easy. I can pull strings with the media and the health services and I have people advising the idiots in government. They’ll do what they are paid to do.” He steepled his fingers. “But it’s going to turn out to be flu in the end. We can’t keep the fake going forever. People will notice there are no bodies piling up anywhere.” He glared at Robson. “And the death toll will be a normal winter death toll. As weapons go, this is total shit.”
“The scare factor is a critical part of—”
“Dammit!” Blackthorn thumped the desk. “I can scare people just by looking at them. It doesn’t kill them. I paid for a weapon, not a bloody Halloween trick.”
Robson held up his hands and took slow breaths. Blackthorn was indeed currently scaring the shit out of him. “Okay. I’m getting to that. The scare factor is a critical part of getting people to take the vaccines.”
Blackthorn took a deep drink of his whisky. He rubbed his eyes. He topped up his glass and stared at Robson in silence for several minutes before intoning “Vaccines.”
“You are going to give me a trivial ‘bioweapon’ and then cure it.” Blackthorn shook his head, slowly. “I should have gone with Armitage’s idea. It was crazy, as usual, but at least he didn’t plan to provide a cure.”
“Ah, but the vaccines are part of the weapon. The virus is the primer, the vaccines are the explosives.” Robson allowed himself a smug smile for a moment.
“Okay.” Blackthorn drew a deep sigh. “Explain.”
“The virus is actually irrelevant.” Robson clasped his hands. “It’s the attachment protein that’s important. It’s deadly, but nobody will realise that for months at least. They’ll think it’s the virus causing heart and other organ failures because all they’ll see is infected people.”
Blackthorn nodded. “Continue.”
“Well, the attachment protein is the obvious candidate for a vaccine. Which means vaccine companies will inject millions of people with the attachment protein and,” Robson grinned, “some new technologies will have people producing it in their own body cells. They’ll think they’ve been immunised against a virus when really, the virus itself would do most of them no harm. It’s our Trojan horse to get the toxic protein in. We don’t need to spread an infection. They’ll queue up to get the toxin injected.”
Blackthorn pursed his lips and blinked a few times. “Brilliant. That’s bloody brilliant. So the virus does sod all, it’s the cure that finishes them off.” He furrowed his brow. “But won’t they notice when people start keeling over after being injected?”
“Most won’t.” Robson wrinkled his nose. “But a few will. More than with any other vaccine. We’ll need your influence to keep up the virus scare and simultaneously play down the vaccine injuries and deaths.”
Blackthorn waved his hand. “No problem. But if it doesn’t affect too many, is there any point?”
“Oh that comes later. The attachment protein will react fast in a few who are sensitive, but it will react much later in most people, so far down the line they’ll never link it to the vaccination. Maybe a year or so.” Robson grinned. “It’s the weapon nobody sees coming, and they won’t even recognise it when it does. A Trojan virus full of molecular soldiers.” He coughed. “Oh and incidentally, those of us who have shares in vaccine companies might want to increase our holding.”
Blackthorn said nothing. He simply poured whisky into a fine crystal glass and set it in front of Robson.